Hassan Whiteside on late-game touches: ‘They say I’m the franchise player. I would think I should get more’

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Hassan Whiteside is the Heat’s franchise player.

That’s why he was so unhappy after Miami’s 136-130 double-overtime loss to the Magic on Tuesday.

In the game’s first 46 minutes, he scored 27 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked four shots. In the final 12 minutes, he took just three shots.

Whiteside, via Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald:

“They say I’m the franchise player. I would think I should get more,” Whiteside responded when asked if he thinks he gets enough touches late in games. “But, I don’t know, man. I don’t think so to be honest. Coach is going to coach.”

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, via Ira Winderman of the South Florida SunSentinel:

“What I like is that he wants to impact more,” Spoelstra said Thursday.  “And he’s starting to learn all the different ways you can impact winning. And your initial instinct will be about touches. But that’s a fraction of the game and how you can impact it.”

“So when the guy speaks up like that, and I’ve been pushing him and prodding him and shoving him to want to do more, and he does, amen.”

Whiteside is Miami’s best player, and nobody is even close. (That Goran Dragic isn’t close is a key reason the Heat are 9-20.)

Credit the organization for embracing Whiteside and demanding more from him. This is the right approach. Ask him to deliver on his lofty ambitions.

This way, Whiteside will be more prepared to help if Miami lands a co-star this offseason.